The annual holiday “cash crunch” isn’t that far away, and people are already worried about how they’re going to afford family gatherings, food for feasts and gifts this holiday season. It’s not unusual for a lot of folks to pick up a little extra seasonal work as soon as the factories, warehouses and stores get busy.
What happens, however, if you’re a seasonal worker and you get hurt? What if you’re a minor and you’re working illegally? What if you’re only part-time? Knowing your rights is the best way to avoid a situation where you’re left on the hook for your own work-related medical bills and holding the bag for your employer.
Almost everybody in Pennsylvania is covered – even you
Every company with even a single employee is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. While there are a few exceptions to this rule (such as railroad workers and certain domestic servants), the vast majority of workers in PA are covered by this program.
This is true even when:
- You just started working a brand new job. In fact, workplace injuries may be more likely to happen during your first few days of work, especially during a busy season when you may not be given proper safety training.
- You’re a seasonal worker. If you went through a temp agency to get your position, there may be some dispute as to whether your employer or the temp agency is actually responsible, but you’re still covered.
- You’re only working part-time. Full-time work is not a requirement for workers’ compensation benefits, although your income does affect how much you may receive in replacement wages.
- You’re a minor. Age isn’t a barrier when it comes to collecting workers’ comp. In fact, you’re still entitled to coverage even if you were hired illegally due to being underage.
- You’re an undocumented immigrant. Don’t let your employer or their insurance company tell you that you’re out of luck simply because you’re an undocumented immigrant. You have the same rights as other workers.
The sad reality is that a lot of injured workers miss out on the benefits they’re due because they get tricked into believing they somehow don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. If you have questions, legal guidance is available.